Currier hopes to open art gallery inside future Nashua performing arts center

Union Leader Correspondent
September 10. 2017 11:32PM
Nashua aldermen have cleared the funding to take the first step toward a possible acquisition of the former Alec's Shoe Store building. (Kimberly Houghton)

NASHUA — The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester is hoping to open an art gallery inside the newly proposed Nashua Performing Arts Center.

Partnering with city leaders, representatives at the Currier have been in discussions with Mayor Jim Donchess about this new initiative, which could potentially showcase local artwork.

“We talked to them about this and it seems like an exciting way to proceed,” Donchess said.

Aldermen are expected to vote Tuesday on a proposed $15.5 million bond to convert the former Alec’s shoe store on Main Street into a performing arts center. If that becomes a reality, Donchess said the Currier wants to be included in the project.

The Manchester organization hopes to open a gallery space, likely 800 to 1,000 square feet, just off the lobby of the new performing arts center, according to the mayor.

“They like the performing arts center concept so well, and they want to be a part of it,” he said, adding the Currier intends to promote local artists and local artwork inside the suggested gallery space.

Alan Chong, director and CEO of the Currier, said on Friday the size of the gallery space and how it would be funded has not yet been finalized.

“I think this is a model that has been used in other cities successfully. It is a wonderful possibility,” said Chong.

The new partnership comes one week after a local judge denied a request from the city and four nonprofit organizations seeking to intervene in an ongoing court battle over nearly $1 million in art funds.

The defunct Nashua Center for the Arts previously filed a court petition asking that it disband and transfer its trust to the Currier. Although the city and the four local organizations asked the court to dismiss the petition and instead permit NCA to reconstitute its board to undertake the purpose of the agency and promote arts in the Gate City, the judge ruled that Nashua has no right to claim the funds.

Donchess is optimistic that the director of charitable trusts for the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office will support this new partnership and effort by the Currier to open a gallery inside the future performing arts complex in Nashua.

According to Donchess, the endowment funds could possibly be used to commission art work by local artists that would be placed on display inside of Currier’s gallery in Nashua.

On Tuesday, aldermen are expected to vote on whether to issue a bond for the future performing arts center, and whether to establish a steering committee for the project.

NashuaLocal and County Government

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